英文童书Out of My Mind
by Sharon M. Draper (Goodreads Author)
Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom - the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she's determined to let everyone know it - somehow.
In this breakthrough story, reminiscent of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, from multiple Coretta Scott King Award-winner Sharon Draper, readers will come to know a brilliant mind and a brave spirit who will change forever how they look at anyone with a disability.
Many people love love love this book, so I'm going to skip the praise (you can read plenty of it elsewhere) and go straight to criticism:
1. The phrase "untouched in my hands" really bothers me. How can something be untouched if it's in your hands?
2. I worry this book is dated already. Do kids really say "tight" anymore? I know Draper is trying to make Melody sound like a real kid, but to my ears she sounds like an adult trying to sound like a kid. In fact, a lot of dialogue struck me as unrealistic (i.e. an adult's version of what she thinks modern kids sound like). I've never heard anyone say, "She is tripping," without droppin' the g. I haven't heard anyone say, "He thinks he's all that," since 1998 (unless is was sarcastic). Of course, I still say things are "the bomb," but I'm a lot older than the kids in this book. Other things that I think will date this book: MySpace, TiVo, Nintendo Wii, iPhones, and the phrase "That's what's up!" (Update: Okay, so iPhones are not going to date the book and I'm now married to a guy who says "That's what's up!" all the time. However, I still stand by droppin' the g in trippin' and kids not calling things tight or "all that.")
3. It strikes me as unrealistic that Melody, with her super intelligence, couldn't communicate better using her low-tech talking board. If she's a perfect speller, couldn't she spell out "I love you," to her parents? Or spell out the story of what happened to the goldfish? Wouldn't her parents and caregivers take the time to allow her to do that? Better yet, wouldn't her parents research adaptive technology so they could communicate better with their child?
4. The villains in this story (i.e. Molly and Claire, the bad teachers and the stupid psychologist that gives Melody her initial intelligence test) are totally one-dimensional. I get really annoyed when authors create scapegoat characters that are easy to hate. You can have bad guys, but flesh them out a little.
5. I thought the near-tragedy thrown in at the end of the book didn't really contribute to the story. It was a weird way to end the book, like the author wanted to crank up the melodrama in the end, and she way overdid it. And how weird was the scene at the end where Melody reacts to a difficult situation by laughing hysterically for no apparent reason?
6. This is a personal issue: I went to elementary school with a boy who had CP and he spent just a small part of each day away from the rest of our class. If this was the case in the 1980s, it's hard for me to believe that educators in the 21st Century have regressed into the situation Melody finds herself in. I could be completely wrong, but it still affected the way I felt about the book. I loved the first chapter, but I grew more and more skeptical as it went on.
To sum up: No, I'm not heartless. I think this story has the potential to really move people, to make them look at their abilities in a more appreciative light. And I think it's important for kids to read stories told from a perspective like Melody's because it opens their minds and hearts. But this book had a lot of problems and I'm not one to ignore them just because the subject matter is important. I really believe this could have been a much better book.Out of My Mind歌词